Cleveland ISD officially opens Cottonwood Elementary

Cottonwood Elementary, located at 1922 CR 3549 in the Grand San Jacinto community south of Plum Grove, is ready for students. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday to celebrate the end of construction.

Cleveland ISD’s fourth elementary campus – Cottonwood Elementary – is ready to welcome students when school begins on Aug. 19. On Friday, the District held a ribbon cutting to mark the official end of construction and to welcome the campus’s new staff of teachers, administrators and service personnel. The new principal at the campus is Richard Pena.

The 130,000 square-foot, two-story campus, built on the 1900 block of CR 3549 in the Grand San Jacinto community south of Plum Grove by Sedalco Construction Services, was part of an $80 million bond approved by District voters in 2017. Other projects in that bond are a service center and a high school expansion, both of which also have wrapped up in time for the new school year.

City of Cleveland, Cleveland ISD administrators and Sedalco Construction Services representative cut a ribbon to mark the completion of construction for Cottonwood Elementary on Friday.
Principal Richard Pena (second from right) is joined by his administrative staff – Asst. Principals Kelli Jiminez, Imelda Andre and Damon McLemore – at the ribbon cutting for Cottonwood Elementary.
Father Andy Dinh Vu with St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cleveland offers a blessing on Cleveland ISD’s trustees, administrators, teachers and staff at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.

The location of Cottonwood Elementary – on land donated to Cleveland ISD by Colony Ridge Development – should alleviate some of the strain on the three other elementary campuses in Cleveland, but another elementary for that area is already in the works due to the rapid population growth that has resulted from the Colony Ridge projects.

“I want to thank the school board for their hard work and dedication as we have worked through the architectural design and building of this campus,” said Cleveland ISD Superintendent Chris Trotter. “Without our school board, we couldn’t move forward in a time matter with this project.”

Trotter reminded the staff that they are part of a historic event with the opening of a new campus.

“There is one opportunity for firsts, only one. On Wednesday, you will become the first teaching crew, the first staff, that will open this building on Aug. 19. We salute you,” he said, leading a round of applause for the staff. “In these trying times, we are not going to stop educating our kids and moving forward.”

Cottonwood Elementary is one of four campuses planned for the Plum Grove area. A middle school, additional elementary and high school are in the future plans. Most of the students attending the elementary campus will come from homes within a square mile of the campus, Trotter said.

In November 2019, voters in Cleveland ISD approved a $198 million bond to build two new elementary campuses and a new junior high school in Grand San Jacinto Subdivision near Cottonwood Elementary, and to purchase new school buses.

Father Anthony Dinh Vu, the new priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cleveland, offered a prayer of blessing on the campus and its staff.


  1. The fact that these people are shaking hands and wearing cheap one ply masks from Walmart really doesn’t send the signal they take this pandemic very seriously. Let’s see how long it takes the virus to spread with Cleveland ISD. I wish the students and staff all the luck in the world, especially since science isn’t in their favor.

  2. I’m praying for all the students, teachers, administrators, and city officials during this time of uncertainty. Too bad someone has to bring out the negativity on such a positive article. I myself have shaken hands and hugged people out of kindness and habit, obviously not worrying about judgement from others. We are all human and in this together!

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